Bartlett's Blog

Andrew Bartlett has been active in politics for over 20 years, including as a Queensland Senator from 1997-2008. This blog started in 2004 and reflects his own views, independent of any political party or organisation.

MATTERS OF URGENCY – Tibet

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (4.47 p.m.)—In the five minutes available to me I would like to express the Democrats’ support for this motion. It is a matter of urgency that the Chinese Communist government observe international laws and norms and cease the bloodshed in Tibet. But, of course, another point does have to be made. I appreciate that governments and people in major parties do need to be diplomatic ...

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CONDOLENCES – Hon. Clyde Robert Cameron AO – Speech

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (12.55 p.m.)—I would like to also associate on behalf of the Democrats our support for this condolence motion and make some personal comments of my own. This condolence debate does indeed relate to what is literally the passing of an era. Clyde Cameron was the last surviving member of the parliament that was elected in 1949. He had the misfortune to enter the parliament at ...

AUDITOR-GENERAL’S REPORTS – Report No. 10 of 2007-08

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (6.14 p.m.)—This report is the Auditor-General’s Performance audit: Whole of government Indigenous service delivery arrangements, which was handed over to the parliament in mid-October last year, just before the election. It is an important and thorough document and I will not have time to go through the full details here. Given the debate last year and some of the debate that has occurred this year regarding ...

DOCUMENTS – Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority—Report for 2006-07 – speech

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (6.00 p.m.)—I move: That the Senate take note of the report. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is of course an exceptional, quite incredible, environmental asset for the people of Queensland and indeed Australia. It is one area in which, as I have said on the record a number of times, probably the most significant single isolated environmental achievement of the previous coalition government was the decision ...

DOCUMENTS – Commonwealth and Immigration Ombudsman Speech

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (7.04 p.m.)—I move: That the Senate take note of the document. It should be emphasised that when the parliament made amendments to the Migration Act to require the examination of all people in immigration detention for prolonged periods, the Senate specifically included the requirement that reports be tabled in this place about each of these cases. These concern individual human beings who in some cases have suffered ...

DOCUMENTS – Refugee Review Tribunal 2 – Speech

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (6.58 p.m.)—I move: That the Senate take note of the document. This document relates to a similar topic to the one I have just been speaking to. This is the response by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Evans, to the Ombudsman’s report on people who are in long-term detention, which is the next document on the Order of Business. Again, these reports—this one and the ...

DOCUMENTS – Refugee Review Tribunal – Speech

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (6.53 p.m.)—I move: That the Senate take note of the document. This document, the report pursuant to section 440A of the Migration Act on the conduct of the Refugee Review Tribunal Reviews not completed within 90 days, for the period 1 July 2007 to 31 October 2007, is a report from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship on protection visa applications, as is required under subsection 91(Y) ...

SOCIAL SECURITY AND VETERANS’ AFFAIRS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (ENHANCED ALLOWANCES) BILL 2008 – Second Reading

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (9.36 a.m.)—The Democrats support the Social Security and Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Allowances) Bill 2008. As the Liberal Party speaker outlined, it is uncontroversial and provides beneficial assistance to millions of Australians—the vast majority of whom are in significant need of assistance such as this. But it is important at a time such as this to ensure that we do have some honest debate ...

CONDOLENCES – Former Senator Siegfried Emil (Sid) Spindler

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (3.59 p.m.)—I join very strongly in lending my support to this condolence motion for former senator Sid Spindler. What an incredible contribution he made, not just to this Senate in six short years but also to politics more broadly, to political debate, to society and to his family. The contribution by his family at his funeral service, held just last week in inner Melbourne, indicated ...

MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS – Afghanistan – Speech

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (4.37 p.m.)—The Democrats also welcome this statement. It is pleasing to see ministerial statements being tabled in the parliament—there are four or five of them here—rather than simply being released at a press conference. I hope that signals a return to the parliament being a chamber of debate about issues and significant statements put forward and released by ministers. I would also like to specifically ...

DOCUMENTS – Commonwealth and Immigration Ombudsman Speech

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (6.59 p.m.)—I move: That the Senate take note of the document. This document is rather weightier. I am not able to transmit the size of it through Hansard, but it contains about 130 or so cases investigated by the Immigration Ombudsman. These are the details of each individual case. Obviously, in five minutes I am not going to be able to go through them all. But I ...

DOCUMENTS – Response to Ombudsman’s Statements made under section 486O of the Migration Act 1958

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (6.53 p.m.)—I move: That the Senate take note of the document. This report is the latest in a long line of reports from the Immigration Ombudsman and responses from the immigration minister. It is the first response from the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship under the new Labor government, Senator Chris Evans, whom I congratulate in being appointed to that extremely important role. Senators would recall that the ...

APOLOGY TO AUSTRALIA’S INDIGENOUS PEOPLES – Speech

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (3.49 p.m.)—I am pleased to be the final speaker from the Democrats on this motion. All Democrat senators have spoken to it in noting the very significant motion of apology that was passed by this Senate chamber without dissent—as well as, of course, in the House of Representatives—earlier today. It is a very welcome motion. Like all motions that are drafted by others, you could ...

DEFENCE AMENDMENT (PARLIAMENTARY APPROVAL OF OVERSEAS SERVICES) BILL 2008 – Second Reading Speech

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (3.44 p.m.)—I move: That this bill be now read a second time. I table the explanatory memorandum and seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard. Leave granted. The speech read as follows— The Defence Amendment (Parliamentary Approval of Overseas Service) Bill seeks to amend section 50C of the Defence Act 1903. The purpose of this Bill is to ensure that Australia’s Defence Force personnel are not ...

BUSINESS – Rearrangement

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (5.23 p.m.)—I wanted to put briefly the Democrats’ perspective on this issue. I think, frankly, Senator Evans has got it about right. It is not an ideal process but it is an unusual arrangement, as I think has been said in another context. This apology is not about all of us getting a say; this apology is for Indigenous Australians. Obviously it is important what ...

Second Reading Speech- FAMILIES, COMMUNITY SERVICES AND INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (CHILD DISABILITY ASSISTANCE) BILL

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (12.53 p.m.)—The Democrats support the legislation before us, the Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Legislation Amendment (Child Disability Assistance) Bill 2007, inasmuch as it introduces the child disability assistance payment. It will lock in an automatic payment of $1,000 each year to families receiving an allowance for caring for a child with a disability. That is an annual payment for eligible families in receipt ...

MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS – Pine Gap Defence Facility

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (3.40 p.m.)—by leave—I move: That the Senate take note of the statement. I will not speak at length, but we do not get ministerial statements quite so often in this place these days. On as important an issue as the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap, I thought it would be appropriate to make a few comments. No doubt there was a response to it in the other ...

Second Reading Speech – AUSTRALIAN TECHNICAL COLLEGES (FLEXIBILITY IN ACHIEVING AUSTRALIA’S SKILLS NEEDS) AMENDMENT BILL (NO. 2) 2007

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (4.00 p.m.)—I seek leave to incorporate my speech in the second reading debate on the Australian Technical Colleges (Flexibility in Achieving Australia’s Skills Needs) Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2007. I failed to do this in the debate earlier today. Leave granted. The speech read as follows— Mr President, I rise to speak to the second reading of the Australian Technical Colleges (Flexibility in Achieving Australia’s Skills Needs) Amendment ...

Second Reading speech – INDIGENOUS EDUCATION (TARGETED ASSISTANCE) AMENDMENT (CAPE YORK MEASURES) BILL 2007

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (5.02 p.m.)—I will speak only briefly to this legislation, which is indeed non-controversial. The Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Amendment (Cape York Measures) Bill 2007 provides an extra degree of assistance for Cape York measures with regard to schooling and the like. I note that this is another example of the curious state of play that has occurred with regard to our Senate committee processes, where ...

Second Reading Speech – SOCIAL SECURITY AMENDMENT (2007 MEASURES NO. 1 and 2) BILL 2007

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (5.44 p.m.)—The Senate is debating two pieces of social security amendment legislation together. There is an amendment to the legislation, to be moved by the Democrats, regarding the removal of discrimination against same-sex couples, which I have circulated. I will speak to that in the committee stage of the debate. There are a range of measures in the Social Security Amendment (2007 Measures No. 1) Bill ...

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Mini Posts

  • Rhetoric vs reality

    I’ve had a break from writing for a variety of reasons, but the reckless approach the new Queensland government is taking to their spending decisions – and the straightout nonsensicality of some of their claims – roused me enough to pen a piece for New Matilda. Time will tell whether the Newman government will start trying to ensure their statements have some connection with reality – I suggest the way they respond next year to the findings of the inquiry into child safety which they’ve established will be a significant test.

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  • End of LP the end of a blogging era

    Back in October, I wrote here about the decline or re-defining of blogs, at least in the Australian political arena.  The relatively few posts I’ve done on this blog since then shows how much less useful I find it to do my own blog than I used to, and as I mentioned back then, a big reason why I don’t read many of the blogs I used to is because the valuable links to many interesting stories, ideas and pieces of information can be found more easily through Twitter or Facebook, sometimes with comment threads which are also at least as good. The recent announcement by the Larvatus Prodeo blog that they are ceasing to operate is quite a significant one.

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  • A final comment on Labor's leadership laments

    Fundamentally, I don’t greatly care about the outcome of Labor’s leadership travails. As my previous post indicates, the bigger issue is that the ALP is being fundamentally damaged by the toxicity of this brawl, and the fact that the brawl is happening in this way is a sign of some much greater problems within Labor. Whatever the immediate outcome, I think those problems are likely to continue.  The outcome of the leadership contest (including the size of what will surely be a Gillard victory) will shape how those problems play out, but they will still be there. Not surprisingly, I see this as presenting an opportunity for the Greens to build some support, but more importantly it presets extra responsibility and obligation for the Greens to be a stronger counter to what is a seriously reactionary Coalition. But seeing we’re all pundits now, and despite having little inside knowledge, my prediction is that there will be no ‘third candidate’ in tomorrow’s leadership ballot.  Julia Gillard will win comfortably. The instability will not disappear. It’s quite possible there will be another leadership ballot before the election but Kevin Rudd will not become leader then either. No matter how good Kevin Rudd looks in the polls, that polling lead would disappear very quickly if he was back in the PM’s job.

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  • A long time between hits

    In amongst all the politics and policy stuff, I try to make time to do some things that are completely disconnected from that*.  One thing I’ve found myself doing recently is doing a bit of practicing with a band, which has led to me doing a live performance for the first time in a long time.  Readers of this blog with a very long memory for minor matters may recall that I played keyboards in a couple of mini-performances with a band as part of promoting the Rock Against Howard compilation CD prior to the 2004 election.  However, drumming is what I’m better at – although I’m still a long way short of being able to say I’m good at it – which is what I am doing in the band I’m currently doing stuff with.  They’re doing their first full live Brisbane show tonight – which I think will be the first time since 1988 I’ve played drums in a live show.  It’s all nice and low-key, and for peoples’ enjoyment rather with an eye to making money out of it, so will make a nice change. *Actually, I don’t think anything is completely disconnected from politics. By coincidence, today also happens to be National SLAM Day – Save Live Australian Music.  As their website shows,

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  • The Ups & Downs of Ups & Downs - interview with Greg Atkinson

    I’ve mentioned before my liking for the 80s Brisbane band Ups and Downs. I got a chance to interview their lead singer Greg Atkinson on 4ZzZ FM a few weeks ago. They’ve released a compilation CD of 20 of their best tunes and played a gig in Brisbane earlier this month to promote and celebrate it. It was a fairly long interview, but I found it very interesting to hear the views of someone who has been active in the independent sphere of the music industry for so long about what has changed and what is the same. You can listen to the interview at this link.

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  • Speeches to refugee rally + SIEV-X exhibition

    A local activist helpfully recorded speeches given by myself and by Julian Burnside at a refugee rights rally held in Brisbane last Saturday.  You can listen to them here and here. The rally was held to mark the tenth anniversary of the sinking of the SIEV-X.  353 refugees drowned when that refugee boat sank on the way to Australia on 19 October 2001.  There is a beautiful exhibition at The Studio on the ground level at the State Library of Qld this week, commemorating that anniversary. It finishes this weekend – I strongly recommend you try to get along for a look if you have a chance. The Library also has a screening of the documentary Hope on Friday October 28 – this film tell the story of Amal Basry, one of the few survivors of that tragedy.

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  • Stuff from my 4ZZZ shift this week

    Every Monday morning I do a shift on radio 4ZzZ FM102.1 – Brisbane’s longest serving community radio station (36 years old this year). And almost every week I talk with social media expert and lawyer Peter Black about some current political and other issues. You can listen to our talk this week by clicking on this link (it goes for over 30 minutes and has the occasional sweary word, so probably best just for dedicated fans). You can see the songlist I played this week – as usual featuring a sizable number of local artists – at this link, which in most cases also contains further links to other videos, information or photos of the artists.

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